5. Talk about pitching riches: In six starts at Pawtucket, Clay Buchholz has a 1.03 earned run average, has held opposing hitters to a .130 average, and in 35 innings has allowed 16 hits, 10 walks, and 4 earned runs while striking out 37. In seven starts at Pawtucket, Michael Bowden has a 0.86 earned run average, has held opposing hitters to a .136 average, and in 42 innings has allowed 19 hits, 16 walks, and 4 earned runs while striking out 28. Conclusion: Not only are they ready for the majors, but they are probably capable of rating among the top two or three starters for the vast majority of major league teams.
6. Of course, the problem -- if you can call it that -- is that there is no vacancy for them in the Red Sox rotation at the moment. The starters whose spots are the most secure -- Jon Lester and Josh Beckett -- are the ones who have struggled the most, save for Brad Penny, whom I suspect will end the summer wearing another team's uniform. The inclination is to believe in Lester as much as he believes in himself, but on the other hand, it's impossible not to wonder if the Verducci Effect is doing its thing right now. I feel like Lester will find his 2008 form. But if he doesn't, it's like the step back would be unprecedented for a young pitcher. As for Beckett, who knows? I've given up trying to solve that particular enigma.
7. Today's news that Phil Kessel (among about 20 other Bruins) was trying to play with a major injury during the Carolina series kind of puts his struggles late in the series in a different light, doesn't it? It's another reminder that it's not always wise to question a player's performance without knowing all of the circumstances. Not that it will stop me, of course.
8. I do wonder how the injuries to Kessel and David Krejci will reflect the Bruins' chances of retaining them. Both are restricted free agents, and my educated hunch was that Krejci would have been locked up before July 1, with the Bruins taking the chance that no one made Kessel a Dustin Penner-type offer. Now, with Krejci reportedly sidelined up to six months with a hip injury and Kessel slated for major shoulder surgery, perhaps the small benefit is that Peter Chiarelli will be able to retain both at a cheaper sticker price.
9. Since the season finale of "The Office" was the show's 100th episode, I figure it's time for a revised version of my top-five favorite episodes:
10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Because sometimes, it really is random.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.